India’s population and the number of mobile phone connections in the country seem to be growing at similar rate. Ok maybe, just maybe, the mobile revolution is growing much faster. A recent report by Boston Consulting Group concluded that India will reach 237 million internet users by 2015. Considering the increasing mobile connections, and the soon to be launched 3G services, the number definitely seems achievable through mobile devices, or it is?
Problems in mobile internet growth
According to the report, India’s internet usage is concentrated in the urban and metropolitan areas, while the rural neighborhoods are more or less oblivious to the existence of mobile internet. If mobile internet usage in India has to increase, having only the developed areas increase usage will not help mobile internet growth in the country. However, a bright spot is the that 3G is set to penetrate rural India by 2012 and this, along with some awareness on the advantages of mobile internet should help reach the expected milestone.
Social Networking on mobile phones
Craze for social networking in our country is another craze that might just push the mobile internet users to the 237 million mark. The BCG report says that an Indian user browses the internet for an average of half an hour, and this will just increase to 0.7 hours a day on average by 2015. With more and more people joining, and getting addicted, to social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, one might just argue that this average number might just increase.
Mobile phones for rural India
Smartphones are key in taking mobile internet forward. However, not everyone can afford these phones. People in rural India need a substitute that can help them access the internet at affordable price. IBM and IIT recently joined forces to create mobile devices for semi-literate and illiterate folks so that they can harness the power of the mobile internet. Service providers too will play an important role in taking this movement forward by providing affordable browsing.
According to us, India has the potential to reach 237 million mobile internet users by 2015, if not surpass it. What is your take on this?